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Features
September 22, 2010

The Wedding Album

Interviews by Shilpi Madan

More than the round-up of glittering events, the unending barrage of attendees and the spiel of seemingly endless rituals, what lingers on after the knot is tied are memories of the special moments of the big day, captured on camera forever. Four happily-married women rewind to the magic of their marital ditty

The ‘freaky’ bride
SHAINA NC, Fashion Designer

“You can call me the freaky bride as I was immersed in work till the afternoon of my wedding. I am the unconventional workaholic soul who thrives on meticulously conceived weddings, because as a professional they make great business sense, yet I chose to go the simple route at her own wedding. What a paradox.

I remember crying on the day of the mehendi and sangeet function, as I had no outfit to wear! I simply rustled up something from my existing closet. My most special memory of my wedding is the heirloom I wore as my bridal outfit – a glorious peach lehnga that belonged to my grandmother. It spoke volumes of the Rajput regalia. I converted it into a ghagra and teamed it with unusual, antique jewellery that my mother sourced from Goan royalty. Of course, we  had the reception at the Turf Club in Mumbai with over 6000 guests in attendance – that comes from being my father’s daughter. Yes, despite being a Rajput I didn’t have a bor on my forehead as I should have had; but never mind. Manish hails from a Marwari family and there was tremendous amount of excitement and planning at their end in terms of the wedding functions and clothes. I don’t think it actually sunk into my head that I was married till the ceremony ended.”

The romantic bride
BHAVNA JASRA, Entrepreneur

“As Gautam comes from a very non- traditional background, cliched bridal colours or styles were not something he much fancied. It was a complex task choosing my outfits. For my mehendi, I chose a French lace, cream and gold affair with pearl motifs, crafted by Hemant Trevedi; and my wedding lehnga by JJ Valaya was an unusual moss green with Swarovski crystals that were then just finding their way onto outfits.

I had always fantasised about my knight in shining armour (blame the desi visage of Mills and Boon!), my dulha riding up to me on a white horse, sweeping me off my feet, in his traditional attire….The very thought of riding a horse with all branches of the family tree dancing in excitement around him was something Gautam desperately wanted to avoid. Luckily the emotional blackmail funnelled in by both sets of parents and my constant verbal pulverising worked its magic, finally.

I was too excited and happy to even put on the act of being a shy bride. As soon as the garlands were exchanged, we actually hugged each other (a very non traditional thing to do). I remember, the entire ballroom was swathed with only cream orchids and lit with fragrant candles… Our wedding was truly a dream affair, just as I had always thought it would be.’

The self-styled bride
DEVIEKA BHOJWANI, Social Activist

“Suresh and I got married in 1975. We were madly in love and our courtship spanned over eight months. Those days there were no fashion designers. Friends and family designed the wedding ensemble for me. I wore a shocking pink, volumnious lehnga with silver badla and zari work: It was crafted in Lucknow and looked absolutely stunning (I still have it and yes, it still fits me!). The funniest part was the episode associated with the lehnga. After the wedding ceremony was over, both of us rushed to the Taj Hotel to get ready for the reception. Those days you were on your own, there were no helpers to assist you. My lehnga had an almost nine-yard skirt length, and I just could not untie the turgid knot that held in place its entire weight around my waist.

Our reception had started already downstairs and we were running late. Suresh tried to undo the stubborn knot using his teeth and failed. We were getting desperate and were at our wits’ end. Then we discovered a blunt, fruit knife in the room. Imagine labouring over the massive knot with a tool that has no serrations. Suresh kept working at the knotty affair with that knife for what seemed a lifetime, then finally his efforts paid off and it came undone. That was quite an experience, hilarious when we recall it now. Of course, then I leapt into my brocade sari and we rushed out to arrive at our own party. We were an hour late and felt shamefaced, though nowadays I see that it is a norm for brides to turn up late for all ceremonies.”

The bride-in-waiting
SABIRA MERCHANT, Grooming Expert

“We completed a fabulous 50 years of our marriage, this year. We were engaged for over a year and he would come over to my house to spend time in the evenings. Of course, Chotu never bothered to check the name of the street, he simply knew at which point to take a left and then a right and he recognised the building where I lived.

On the day of the wedding, he had to arrive in relative daylight with the baraat. He didn’t know where to take which turn. Foxed, he ended up stopping at every lane to ask strangers where I stayed. There I was at home, all dressed up in my beautiful white sari, waiting for what seemed a lifetime, for my fiance to turn up. My father was convinced that the groom had developed cold feet. It was a breath-stopping situation for me. I was simply robbed of all thoughts and logic. It was awful, unnerving, distressing yet comical in retrospect. I was saying my prayers quietly, the priest was waiting anxiously to perform the nikaah. The guests were restless as the clock ticked on. Imagine my plight, as in those days there were no cell phones either. Finally, he found the house, an hour and a quarter later. I have never experienced such relief at the sound of the approaching band bajaa as I did then. I wore exquisite creations in white lace and chamo satin, saris for both my wedding and reception. A wonderful Italian lady, Virginia Malhotra, designed my outfits in elegant white and silver.

I co-ordinated my handbag and shoes to match what I wore. We celebrated our 50th anniversary with me in the same sari.”

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